NATPE assets sold to Banff Operator in Bankruptcy Auction

Brunico Communications has won a bidding process after the international content market group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to the financial impact of pandemic-era event cancellations.

After the assets of The National Association of Television Program Executives, or NATPE, were acquired by Brunico Communications, the Toronto-based operator of the Banff World Media Festival, NATPE Miami is slated to return in early 2024.

The winning bid from the Canadian corporation came after NAPTE filed for bankruptcy in October 2022 after hitting a financial wall as a result of the forced cancellations of the 2021 and 2022 U.S. TV markets owing to the pandemic. The terms of the arrangement with Brunico were not published, although it is believed that the Canadian firm made an initial $150,000 stalking horse bid for the NATPE assets, which included taking on outstanding debt.

Brunico’s acquisition of NATPE Global, NATPE Budapest, NATPE Streaming+, and the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards has been granted by a bankruptcy court in the United States, with the transaction scheduled to finalize by the end of January. Brunico intends to hold the organization’s European marketplace, NATPE Budapest, from June 26 to 28, 2023, at the Intercontinental Hotel.

The premier US TV market, NAPTE Global, will return in early 2024, precisely as the TV business is being upended by the proliferation of streaming platforms and quickening cord-cutting. As streaming subscriber revenues fail to balance linear TV losses, this disruption is projected to spark another round of industry reorganization.

NAPTE’s annual conferences and marketplaces have typically provided significant money. NAPTE Global has historically been held in Miami and was scheduled to take place in the Bahamas this month before that event was canceled amid the trade group’s bankruptcy filing.

Brunico said in a statement after winning a formal court-ordered auction of the bankrupt NATPE assets on December 14, that it “plans to devote considerable resources in strengthening the NATPE brand, particularly NATPE Global, which is the largest U.S.-based content marketplace.”

Brunico, who acquired the operating rights to the Banff World Media Festival in 2016, also runs the Realscreen Summit and Kidscreen Summit conferences, and has extensive expertise running marketplaces and conferences in the United States and internationally outside of Canada.

“The international content community has been waiting anxiously for the return of NATPE, and we are very thrilled to welcome back our new clients and delegates. Brunico will contact all NATPE partners shortly to discuss the transition and our plans for the future,” Brunico president and CEO Russell Goldstein added in his own statement.